Representative image of Bulandsahr violence, December 4, 2018. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: One of the men accused of orchestrating the communal violence in Bulandshahr in 2018, in which police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh was killed, has reportedly won a seat in the Uttar Pradesh panchayat elections.

According to the Indian Express, Yogesh Raj was arrested in the case and has been out on bail since 2019. He won the panchayat elections to Ward 5, Bulandshahr.

“In the past, I have been associated with many social service organisations. There are several issues which can only be resolved with political will. These include issues of disabled people, widows and even farmers. I am thankful to the people for electing me,” the newspaper quoted Raj as saying.

Speaking of his role in the violence, Raj said he was accused of “violence and not murder”. “Two people died in the riots and my sympathies are with them.”

According to the police chargesheet in the case, Raj had made several phone calls to other accused in the case before the violence broke out. On December 28, 2018, a mob gathered to protest against an alleged incident of cow slaughter in Bulandshahr, a town in the western Uttar Pradesh’s sugarcane belt, and then turned violent.

Like several other accused, Raj was a member of the Bajrang Dal during the violence. The state police had earlier named Raj as the prime suspect in the killing of inspector Singh. Later, they said that the prime accused was Prashant Natt but Raj was still an accused in the case. He was one of 80 people – 27 named and the rest unnamed – accused in the FIR. However, according to The Tribune, his name was later dropped from the chargesheet.

The Bajrang Dal has said Raj is no longer a member of the organisation.

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